Details have been disclosed of the collaboration between GW Pharmaceuticals - the British Company licensed by the Home Office to conduct research into the medicinal uses of cannabis - and Dutch medicinal cannabis plant breeding company HortaPharm B.V.
Speaking at the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) conference in Montpellier, Dr Geoffrey W Guy, Chairman of GW Pharmaceuticals, said that HortaPharm will provide GW with exclusive access to its entire range of cannabis varieties for the development of medicines. The worldwide rights acquired by GW for an undisclosed sum cover varieties grown to date with certain exceptions and all varieties to be bred in future. Plant registrations arising from the Dutch breeding programme will be owned by GW. Under the agreement GW will be responsible for the development of specific drug delivery technologies to administer the pharmaceutical grade medicinal cannabis. This work will include a vaporiser for which HortaPharm has a patent pending. In addition GW will fund HortaPharm's botanical research and HortaPharm scientists will assist in the UK Glasshouse propagation, cloning and cultivation programme. Dr Guy, said: "There has been much speculation as to the exact role of the various chemical components of cannabis in treating patients with illnesses such as Multiple Sclerosis and AIDS wasting syndrome. In particular THC (the psychoactive constituent chemical) has received much attention. Historical medical reports and more recent work may point to the influence of cannabidiol (CBD) in epilepsy and stroke for example. We wish to explore the therapeutic benefits and the potential for reduction in unwanted effects that may be offered through administration of complete extracts containing various defined ratios of the principal cannabinoids." Mr David Watson, Chief Executive of HortaPharm commented "HortaPharm leads the world in its understanding of cannabis botany and has built up over many years the most extensive 'Living Library' of Medicinal Cannabis varieties. As soon as Dr Guy's clinical research indicates the exact desired composition our scientists can breed and register new medicinal varieties".